Oppo’s modus-operandi in India has been quite simple. It is an offline focussed brand from the BBK group which is also the parent behind Vivo, Realme, OnePlus and iQOO — with an eye towards a simpler mass-market audience that buys phones from traditional brick and mortar retail, however, it’s Reno brand was conceived as an aspirational brand which delivered products with cutting edge technology. That being said, the new Reno 3 Pro, isn’t that — it harkens back to the formuletic rule of thumb which leverages a premium positioning with the help of a blitzkrieg of celebrity endorsements but delivers a product with pedestrian or middling specifications which are outshined by-products from rival brands including ironically some of whom come from the BBK stable. In a nutshell, this phone is slightly overpriced for what it is and in no-way a Pro.
Middling specs make for an overpriced gadget
The Reno 3 Pro uses the MediaTek Helio P95 which is one of the newer systems on chip (SoC) solutions from the Taiwanese fabless semiconductor designer. That being said, it in no-way is a high-end chip or even the best MediaTek has to offer which is its GT90 solution seen on Xiaomi’s Redmi Note 8 Pro.
Sure, it is bound to provide adequate performance for day-to-day tasks for most users, but it neither rises to the cutting edge stature of the Reno brand Oppo built-in 2019, nor does it have any kind of opulence required by spec-junkies and mobile addicts. The P95 is good for day to day use and minor gaming when coupled with 8GB RAM which is what I experienced in the 15 minutes I spent using the phone at the launch.
But if you think you will be editing 1080p video with the alacrity of a final cut pro editor or playing games for hours and hours, you’re living a pipe dream.
Sure, this phone gets an OLED screen with a 6.4-inch radius, but it isn’t the nicest one I’ve seen. It is decent and on par with most LCD screens with the added advantage of being more power-efficient, but there are better options in the market for lesser — eg coming from its sister Realme brand being the X2 Pro which doesn’t only go OLED but gives you a 90Hz refresh rate which has become a key selling point for many people. The only thing that’s going for it is the pill-shaped notch that was first seen with the Samsung Galaxy S10.
At this price, it is also within striking distance of the OnePlus 7T, especially its 256GB model while being outgunned even on the processing front as these phones come with Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 855+.
Design-wise, these phones offer the same old candy-bar design flush with loud gradient finishes, but this time around the back felt less like glass more like plastic, showcasing more signs of cost-cutting than the opulence promised by Reno and its 25k plus the price tag.
Big camera game?
There are a total of 6 cameras on this phone so there is a good reason why Oppo is tom-toming the cameras of this phone. The selfie cameras are pretty impressive, admittedly, with a 44-megapixel sensor coupled with a depth sensor for some really nutty selfies that make your face shine even in the darkest rooms.
On the back, the primary sensor is a 64-megapixel one coupled with a wide-angle, telephoto for 20x hybrid zoom and even a monochrome one for increased low-light sensitivity. Oppo always has had decent cameras, and the package on the Reno 3 Pro is promising to be potent, if not really pro. I will test this in great detail while reviewing the device.
The videography features are also quite impressive with a built-in video editor in Colour OS 7, live bokeh modes for the DSLR like shallow depth of field effect on videos and some electronic stabilization goodness that was talked up by celebrity photographer Dabboo Ratnani. That being said, even the most cutting edge Android phones are never as good as iPhones on video so it will be fruitless to hold your breath on this phone blowing you away with videos.
There is a pretty massive battery in this phone at 4,025mAh backed up with 30-watt Super VooC charging which is Oppo’s famed charging technology. This is not the fastest flavor of it, but it is on par, if not better from some of the phones in its price range. Considering the OLED screen and rather a mid-tier processor, you can expect this phone to shine in the battery life department.
Oppo’s Colour OS user interface also gets a major overhaul with this phone. It is more functional and simpler to use while also integrating new payment services like Oppo Kash. It is also based on Android 10, but don’t bet on it being updated to Android 11 pronto. I can say this with conviction as Oppo’s track record proves this.
All in all, this phone isn’t special but it will be good for anyone who wants a camera-centric phone for less than Rs 30,000. That being said, then there are better options which also are nicer to use — and that’s why I feel this phone is stuck in the middle of nowhere with it being slightly overpriced with serious question marks over its “pro” credentials. A deeper dive for a review will reveal more, but one thing is for sure, with Oppo’s marketing might and solid offline distribution network, this phone will move some units.